UnitedHealth Group is strongly committed to hiring veterans and we can’t imagine anyone more qualified to speak on our company’s initiative than the vets who work here. We’re pleased to introduce a new employee blog series featuring Kevin, an Optum director and US Air Force veteran. In his blogs, he’ll cover behavioral interviewing for military veterans. But first, let’s meet Kevin and hear his story:
From the US Air Force to UnitedHealth Group
I spent 20 years on active duty in the US Air Force from 1994-2014, and retired as a lieutenant colonel in Belgium. I transitioned back to southern California area and ended up coming to UnitedHealth Group. I started my first eight weeks as a Six Sigma Process Improvement consultant. I was asked to lead a Quality management team across Optum RX where I became a senior director responsible for its transactional auditing. At the time I had 120 people on my team and now I have 265 people both in the US and internationally.
Interview experience at UnitedHealth Group
Like most people who get hired by UnitedHealth Group, I had a screening phone call first. Now what’s funny was that I never interviewed before -- so I didn’t know what to expect. I was told we were doing a phone screening but just to be safe, I actually put my suit on for it. People thought it was pretty funny when I told them later. But I didn’t want to show up on Skype in my workout clothes!
I had the screening interview and I found that the process was very good. The recruiter knew I was a veteran and he took the time to explain the differences so I could understand. The first 15-20 minutes of the screening was about the job and going through my qualifications. The other half was helping me understand on-the-job occurrences that I may not necessarily be familiar with as a veteran.
Show up and be your best, no matter what.
I was interviewing around the holidays. After I passed the screening interview, I was ready for the second one. They said, “Well, the screening is on the 18th of December, are you okay?”
I said, “I’m ready to go, I’m ready to interview.”
That type of attitude was a technique I learned from the military -- when someone says they need something; you want to be ready right away. The screening went well and I got called back a day later saying that they’d like to take me to the final round of screening with the senior VP of Quality Management in Optum RX.
The conversation went like this:
“There will be two of you interviewing for position… when can you come in?” I said, “I’ll be there on the 1st of January if you want me to, but probably no one will be working. So I’ll be there on the 2nd.”
So I came in and interviewed on January 2 and received a call back that day saying they want to make me a job offer. I asked, “What about the other person?” They said, “The other person couldn’t make it until January 5th and you came in on the 2nd. We were happy with you and we want to hire you”. I took the job.
Civil servant hiring process in the military certainly didn’t work that way – they had a candidate list that they worked through. One thing for military candidates to understand about the interview process is this: it may take a long time to get that initial interview. But once you get the interview, the process can move very, very rapidly.
The biggest takeaway I had from my experience was always being ready to go. Once the process starts, you may be in and out in a few weeks of time with all the interviews. I found the speed of the process to job offer was almost shocking. I wasn’t used to it moving that fast.
Enjoy this blog? Stay tuned in the next few weeks as Kevin blogs about civilian/veteran culture gaps and how to approach to behavioral interviewing. We’ll wrap up the conversation in a special Twitter Q&A on March 31st. Details to come.
In the meantime, check out our military blog section to hear from other veteran or military spouse employees about what it’s like to work at UnitedHealth Group, a place where you can do your life’s best work SM